The Bauhaus Legacy - From Manual Crafts to Industrial Mass-Production

Dates:April 22 - May 6, 2021
Meets:Th from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM, 3 sessions
Location:Online Zoom
Instructor:Bodil Ottesen
Fee: $79.00

Thurs., Apr. 22-May 6, 6:30-8:00 p.m. EST

There are still openings remaining at this time.


Course Description

Bauhaus was founded in 1919 in Weimar, Germany by the Architect, Walter Gropius (1888-1969). From the beginning Gropius wanted to teach Workshop (traditional local Crafts) students and Fine Arts (Academically-trained, Classical) students simultaneously in an introductory course thereby fusing two art educational traditions. This "cross-fertilization" would, according to Gropius' original ideas (he would later change or expand them somewhat), not only significantly improve all art creativity, but also serve as a model for future art education. As a recognized contemporary architect Gropius made frequent use of the term structure, when describing the developing designs or prototypes created at Bauhaus. These terms would also denote his emerging awareness of industrial production.


Gropius' ideas regarding the Bauhaus curriculum were created with inputs from recognized artists-later teachers-joining him early on. Among them the Austrian, Johannes Itten (1888-1967) was an important influence whose short-lived stay at Bauhaus proved beneficial for Gropius. However, Itten's untraditional development of the school's teachings soon created resentment among the Weimar population; public funding, always extremely sparse, totally dried up by 1924. Through passionate defense and explanations by supportive groups, Gropius was able to keep Bauhaus in Weimar for another year, however, by early 1925, lack of funds forced the final closure despite a very successful exhibition of works by students and faculty in 1923.


By 1925 Bauhaus reemerged in Dessau, a developing industrial center located closer to Berlin. Here Gropius assisted by students and local funding built the new Bauhaus building, which proved one of his most important architectural achievements. The years in Dessau are generally perceived as the most successful years for Bauhaus, though the seeds for the success were certainly planted in Weimar despite minimal public funding and ever-present financial troubles. Partly to raise money for the school, Gropius, his faculty and student body turned to extensive published writing.


In 1928, Gropius resigned from his directorship of Bauhaus. He was succeeded by Hannes Meter (1889-1954), who he had selected himself. Meters, also an architect, was known for his extreme Marxist/Communist convictions. Considering the shifting political climate in Germany, Meyer only lasted one year and was replaced by Mies van der Rohe (1889-1969). He would be the last director of the short-lived Bauhaus. Van der Rohe believed he could navigate the general apolitical Bauhaus through increasing nationalistic political pressure. He was nevertheless forced to move Bauhaus to Berlin in 1932. In 1933 it was closed by the Nazis.
If time permits: Questions and concluding discussions in general, as well as inquiries regarding the future of the Bauhaus faculty and students are encouraged.